| Added on 26 Oct, 2017 | Ad ID: 15340
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Ajanta Caves The Ajanta Caves are generally agreed to have been made in two distinct periods, the first belonging to the 2nd century BCE to 1st century CE, and second period that followed several centuries later. The caves consist of 36 identifiable foundations, some of them discovered after the original numbering of the caves from 1 through 29. The later identified caves have been suffixed with the letters of the alphabet, such as 15A identified between originally numbered caves 15 and 16. The cave numbering is a convention of convenience, and has nothing to do with chronological order of their construction. The Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra state of India are about 29 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The caves include paintings and rock cut sculptures described as among the finest surviving examples of ancient Indian art, particularly expressive paintings that present emotion through gesture, pose and form. According to UNESCO, these are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art that influenced Indian art that followed. The caves were built in two phases, the first group starting around the 2nd century BC, while the second group of caves built around 400ï¿½650 CE according to older accounts, or all in a brief period of 460 to 480 according to Walter M. Spink. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Ajanta Caves constitute ancient monasteries and worship halls of different Buddhist traditions carved into a 250 feet wall of rock. The caves also present paintings depicting the past lives and rebirths of the Buddha, pictorial tales from Aryasura'sJatakamala, as well as rock-cut sculptures of Buddhist deities in vogue between the 2nd century BCE and 5th century CE.Textual records suggest that these caves served as a monsoon retreat for monks, as well as a resting site for merchants and pilgrims in ancient India. While vivid colours and mural wall painting were abundant in Indian history as evidenced by historical records, Caves 16, 17, 1 and 2 of Ajanta form the largest corpus of surviving ancient Indian wall-painting. The Ajanta Caves site are mentioned in the memoirs of several medieval era Chinese Buddhist travelers to India and by a Mughal era official of Akbar era in early 17th century. They were covered by jungle until accidentally "discovered" and brought to the Western attention in 1819 by a colonial British officer on a tiger hunting party. The Ajanta caves are located on the side of a rocky cliff that is on the north side of a U-shaped gorge on the small river Waghur, in the Deccan plateau. Further round the gorge are a number of waterfalls, which when the river is high are audible from outside the caves
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